Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 3D (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Adam Riley 23.12.2012 9

Review for Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 3D on Nintendo 3DS

Sadly the Pro Evolution Soccer series has not been a big success since the 2008 edition on Wii that was heavily advertised by Nintendo itself. Since then, Konami has stealthily released annual updates that have fell by the wayside, with the last three editions actually being exactly the same, bar minor updates to squads. The Nintendo 3DS saw a great iteration at the system's launch, with Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D. With that appearing in March 2011, about half a year after the home console versions, it was not that actually too long until the 2012 edition hit, complete with many of the features that had been missing from the good-but-rushed launch day 3DS title. Unfortunately, hardly anyone even knew that Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 3D had landed at retail, and those that did were stung at having forked out for a stripped down version at the 3DS launch. It seems the same has happened with Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 3D. However, those that hunt it down will find one of the best handheld football experiences so far and the pain of dishing out for the 2011 edition should have subsided by now.

Year in, year out, the key duo of Konami and Electronic Arts battle it out with their latest updates to the popular football pairing of Pro Evolution Soccer and FIFA; the former always seemingly one step behind due to limitations in the FIFA licensing deal, but normally leagues ahead in terms of quality. In recent years EA Sports' multi-million selling series notched it up several gears whilst Konami's famous team, led Shingo 'Seabass' Takatsuka, stalled somewhat. Saying that, though, such accusations are levelled at the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions mainly, since on Wii the 'Playmaker' series that uses Wii Remote pointer controls for a greater degree of control over team mates during matches helped elevate it to a higher level overall. On the handheld scene, again it has so far been a case of Konami still trumping EA, since the FIFA games on 3DS have been rather sub-par, as was the case with the recent FIFA 13. What of Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 3D, though? Does it keep the upward trend going and become the champion? The answer is one that can be delivered in a single word: yes!

Might as well skip ahead to the final score, right? Well, okay, for those still reading there are far more options to choose from this year, with traditional Exhibition matches and Penalty shoot-outs, Network games (online match-up with those on the Friends List or 'Free' games against those of a similar level, or all players at any standard; wireless games, plus StreetPass encounters), UEFA Champions League, the Latin American cup, Master League for developing talents and signing the right players on the road to glory, Become a Legend where players start as a single player from the beginning of their career through to the twilight, World Player that works similarly to Become a Legend but different in that you are already in the shoes of a big name star, plus the usual regular League and Cup choices, as well as intensive training sessions.

The Circle Pad certainly helps for probably the smoothest control system on a handheld so far, with the intuitive nature of the gameplay from the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions being translated to the smaller setting very impressively indeed. The commentary is spot on, with not too much of that pesky repetition or ill-timed comments popping up (anyone remember the old 'That must be a penalty!' when actually nowhere near the box?!), and the atmosphere from the crowd is amazing, with team-specific chants being a particular stand-out point.

Screenshot for Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 3D on Nintendo 3DS

There are so many little tweaks that can be applied in the pre-match setup section, and for those that do not relish the idea of constantly having to do so, there is the chance to save certain key player positions, formations, tactics, and so on, meaning they can quickly be loaded next time the game is booted up. There are also some important time savers, such as being able to assign on-the-fly tactical changes to one of four touch screen boxes (offside trap, pressure, attack down the wing, and more) and allowing the computer to decide when is best to substitute players and who to put on as replacements. This proves to be imperative as whilst there are those that love to play around with lots of options, others wish to merely jump into matches without too much hassle.

As with the debut 3DS edition, Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D, with the 3D slider on full, the added depth really brings a fantastic feel to proceedings and when turned right up gives an additional edge to play, being able to judge where players are almost as if personally on the pitch. There are various camera styles to play around with to find one best suited to the player, and although the range on offer is not as expansive as other games of this ilk, there is more enough to suit most players' needs. One problem that arises, however, is that the mini-radar showing all players' positions is tiny on the upper screen and it would have been preferable to have a large version visible on the lower screen.

Aurally, as a rather cool little extra, in the sound options where certain songs can be switched on and off for different menu screens, there are some classic Konami tracks from the likes of Castlevania, Gradius, Contra, Twinbee and even Mystical Ninja! Finally, there are achievements to unlock, a PES shop where new players, stadia, and game-changing options can be unlocked using PES Points (earned during the game, or by converting Play Coins), and even the chance to use the stylus during matches to add even more close control to matches and extra effects. Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 3D has everything anyone with a Nintendo 3DS could hope for in a football title, and probably a bit extra for good measure!

Screenshot for Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 3D on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Konami shoots and scores with Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 3D, showing EA how it should be done. From the wide array of modes that mimic the home console versions to the technical quality and extras that make this 3DS version stand out, this proves to be the ultimate portable football experience for all fans of the sport.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop


Marvin (guest) 23.12.2012#1

Skipped the 2012 version because of what you said - felt burnt after getting 2011 at launch. Sounds good this one. Intrigued about the touch screen controls!

Good stuff - it's really fun and the more people buy it, the higher the chances of easier online match-ups! Currently it's a bit barren in the online world of PES13 3D Smilie

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

May get this. Thanks.

what is next gen to you ? (guest) 24.12.2012#4

very hard for me to get into any football game as there all rubbish i simply can nevr go back to the OUT DATE and OBSOLETE idea of controlling 1 player at a time after pes wii (THE ONLY ACTUAL NEXT GEN FOOTBALL GAME IN EXISTENCE) I simply await what pes will be like on wiiu

pes wi was gimped and low budget , but its game-play and controls made OBSOLETE any and all other fooyball games SIMPLE FACT pes wii you control the team not a player you are combining player play with team play IN REAL TIME i wouldnt be seen dead playing fifa its a casual game based on the exact same game play i was using on n64s ISS SOCCER sorry the days of playing 1 player at a time died the day pes wii arrived its OBSOLETE to play any other way TECH FACT why would i play as 1 player then the next then the next wen i can play as the whole team i can control the TEAM as i also control the PLAYER this is imposable on out dated controls.....

now the wiiu has the second touch screen imagine the wii controls mixed with a tactical managers screen (incase you havnt noticed im a core gamer not a fake ) imagine the wii controls converted to a touch screen team control (see how real gamers think)

ps4 and x720 will continue the exact same OBSOLETE NONSENSE only the wiiu will offer yet another TRUE NEXT GEN JUMP pes 3DS needs far more inventive use of the touch screen

football is a team game so make team controls (a core gamer has spoken not a twin stick fake)!!!!

I do agree that PES on Wii is by far the most in-depth version, with arguably the best control options - allowing Classic Controller PRO players vs. Wii Remote+Nunchuk ones is great.

It'll be interesting to see what happens on Wii U. FIFA 13 Wii U is based on the FIFA 12 engine, but with the 2013 team updates, but brings in some very clever use of the GamePad for on-the-fly management changes and play styles. Hopefully Konami will improve upon EA's already strong start. I'm also intrigued to see if the touch screen use of the 3DS PES games will be bettered next year.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Gil (guest) 27.12.2012#6

All the features listed as positives for this 2013 edition were actually already present in PES2012 3D.

I would like to have heard whether there is anything additional in 2013 that those of us who already have the 2012 edition might find interesting. It seems as though the reviewer totally skipped PES2012 3D and is therefore really excited to comment on features that some of us may already have enjoyed for hundreds of hours.

To be specific, the following were already present and working effectively in PES 2012 3D:
- online play against friends and others
- team-specific chants and varied commentary
- all the game types listed in the review above
- unlocks using the PES shop and points earned from play or using play coins
- on-the-fly tactical changes mapped to the touch screen and the ability to save formations, etc.
- the 3D slider being nice to look at and practically useful, especially when playing in the First-person modes such as BAL and WP.

I would have like to read in this review some comments on the new features of PES2013 3D. For example, is the stated "new AI" actually any good? Does the stated  "complete control" play any better than the controls of PES 2012?

If I had had the chance to test out PES2012, then yes I could have made comparisons. Unfortunately, though, none of  the team had the chance to try it. If, as you say, 2013 is pretty much identical to 2012 then that is extremely disappointing to hear.

One question I have for you, though, is how did you find the online play? Were you able to find many matches? It always seemed to be a struggle to find anyone else online with this latest version.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Gil (guest) 29.01.2013#8

(sorry for my late reply as I haven't been around much since xmas)

Just to be clear, I can't say that 2013 is the same as 2012. I haven't played 2013 at all, only 2012, which I have poured over 200 hours into so far and am still discovering new things. That's why I came here to read about what you guys thought of 2013, so I could judge whether to make the switch from 2012.

In terms of online play, to be honest I only got to play about 4-5 games. I just tested it out a little before I got heavily into Master League, but it seemed to play well with just a little lag. That was playing in Canada and also about 3-4 weeks after release, which is probably prime time to find opponents. Sadly, I then moved to Africa and no one plays online games here..

BLT (guest) 18.03.2013#9

Having played 2012 extensively and recently just bought (through the E shop) the 2013 version, I can emphatically say that it is pretty much the same game.  However, I didn't mind playing it again for the updated kits, and players.  The new crowd atmosphere is a welcome change as there are now songs and chants, using headphones, it's a much better experience.  So if you have 2012 and had built a pretty good progress on it, maybe you won't need this game.  For me, as a huge soccer fan, buying it is a much and replaying my progress is a joy.  

Compared to FIFA 2013, this game wins hand downs.  PES 2013 is the best handheld soccer experience on the 3DS money can buy.  

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